"What prevents YOU from closing more sales and making more money?"
CIRCLE TIME at the Library
update your old SLEEPER SOFA
sewing drapery side hems with BLACKOUT
why you need a BOILER IRON
life's NEXT CHAPTER
staying in the ZONE
busFIRST AID in the workroom
Madeleine MacRae serves as CEO and founder ofMM MacRae, a national learning, coaching and consulting firm focused on the sales, leadership and growth. Madeleine has over 12 years of experience in our industry and derives her energy from educating, inspiring, and leading her clients. www.mmmacrae.com
Did you miss the January Circle Time?
Handling Sales Challenges with Madeleine MacRae
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On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, The Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library hosted Madeleine MacRae for a personalized and interactive Circle Time: Handling Difficult Sales Challenges.
Madeleine conducted a brief survey and crafted her presentation to help solve the challenges of the participants. Delightful and engaging, this event received rave reviews!
Wish you were there? Join the Library today as a PRO Plus Member to view this and future, CIRCLE TIME events, on demand.
February CIRCLE TIME at the Library:
Learn Why Email Newsletters are 40x Better than Facebook
Did you know that marketing your business can be as simple as sending one newsletter per month? Presented by Kate the Socialite, in this webinar, we'll cover how to create and grow a mailing list, what to say in your newsletter, how to say it (including calls-to-action, word counts, and more), how to layout text and images, and where to find the right images if you don't have enough of your own. By the end of this interactive presentation, you'll have a firm grasp on why email marketing matters and how to make it work for your soft furnishings business.
3 Slipcover Design Tips for Updating Your Old Sleeper Sofa
by Karen Powell
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This article first appeared in Karen's blog, The Slipcover Maker, which you can read here.
There comes the day in the life of a sleeper sofa when no one — I mean NO one — wants to sleep on it anymore. The mattress is kaput.
Around that time you begin to notice how outdated the upholstery looks. It makes you wince every time you walk by it. As one of my customers puts it, “Blech.”
So, you ask yourself should I keep it or get rid of it?
The good news is your well-loved pullout couch doesn’t have to go by the wayside just because the mattress is shot and the upholstery is ugly. If you have a classic design that is structurally sound and the cushions still offer good support, it can easily be updated with a slipcover and become a great looking, comfortable sofa for everyday use.
Here are three design tips for giving your old sleeper sofa a new look and function:
1. Refresh Back Cushions: Attached back cushions are common on older sleeper sofas. They can be easily removed and covered individually. Copy the old cushion covers as-is or change up the design, i.e. from pillow style with kiss pleat corners to boxing all the way around. See the linen sofa below.
If the back inserts are compressed and lumpy, restore them to their original fullness by adding new fiberfill. I show you how in this cushion refresh tutorial.
2. Flat Panel the Arms: So many of the old sleepers I slipcover have a fancy front arm detail. Sculpted, scrolled, puffy and multi-pleat designs make the entire sofa look dated.
I like designing the front arms with simple, flat panels. The look is clean and timeless. Even if you have to add a couple of tiny tucks to control fullness around the arm, the end result will look so much better than the outdated original.
3. Move the Skirt Line: If your sleeper sofa has been around for a decade or more the skirt seam line probably sits low, and the squatty skirt hits the floor. Outdated skirts really show a sofa’s age.
A simple skirt revision such as moving the seam line up a few inches or all the way to the deck will give your sofa a much-needed style boost. Adjust skirt hem length to work with the new seam line and the overall design of the sofa.
Keep in mind the mattress mechanicals hang low in the sofa frame and will be seen if the skirt is too short. For example, on the linen slipcover above, I designed the skirt hem to end a couple of inches from the floor to expose a little bit of the leg but keep the sofa guts hidden.
Karen Powell is a custom slipcover maker serving retail clients in West Michigan and mail order customers across the nation. Through her popular blog, The Slipcover Maker, Karen inspires and educates readers about design, fabric, fit and function. With a background in sewn product design and textile development, Karen brings expertise in fabric selection, pattern making and construction to each slipcover project.
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Want to be featured in a future edition? Use #csfrl to make sure you get noticed.
JAN-FEB 2019 Photo credits and Instagram links:
Patti Ayers: @pillowsandpleats
Alejandra Canales: @ac_designstudio
Rose Mary LeBlanc: @rmlcustomhome
Note: using #csfrl implies permission, so we may use in the Digital Digest - with photo credit and Instagram link, of course - without contacting you.
Upholstery Classes Now Available on the Workroom Channel
The Workroom Channel has partnered with upholstery education champion, Cynthia Bleskachek, to offer TWO new online courses: COIL SPRINGS WITH A HARD EDGE and COIL SPRINGS WITH A WIRE EDGE. In these courses, Cynthia provides detailed instruction on the fundamental upholstery skill of eight-way hand spring tying. Watch the video below to learn more about the content of the courses.
Click on the logo to view the full course catalog.
Sewing blackout lining can be challenging. Machine blind hemming will pierce the blackout coating and create pinholes of light, which is noticeable on a drapery side hem that is lit from behind during the day, at the window.
Adhesive products are a good solution for finishing side hems without creating holes in the blackout. But, an adhesive, whether it’s a fabric glue or fusible tape, will only attach the back of the double-fold side hem to the lining material. Without catching the face fabric with stitches, I worry that the face fabric and lining can separate and cause the leading edge to twist, billow, or roll out when hanging at the window.
My method for securing blackout lining is to sew a long basting stitch inside the side hem, with the stitches along the finished edge of the drapery.
See the video below for a short tutorial. After the basting stitch is complete, the side hem can be finished with adhesive products, or hand sewn if the stitching is hidden behind the double fold side hem.
The drapery shown in the video is interlined, but you can use this method without interlining. Another tip when fabricating blackout-lined drapery is to use binder clips, or quilters clips instead of pins to hold the side hems in place until they are finished.
Susan Woodcock owns Home Dec Gal, a how-to sewing and decorating resource and custom workroom in western North Carolina, and is a Craftsy.com instructor and international speaker. She co-produces the Custom Workroom Conference, a professional trade show and educational event, with her husband, Rodger Walker. Susan’s publishing credits include Singer® Sewing Custom Curtains, Shades and Top Treatments (Creative Publishing International, 2016). In 2017 Susan and Rodger founded Custom Workroom Technical Center, a hands-on training facility for the workroom industry. She is a member of the WCAA.
Sewing Drapery Side Hems with Blackout Lining
by Susan Woodcock
Here's what our customers are saying:
“The main attraction for me to Angels is the quality of service. The phones are answered promptly, never a wait time on hold, and even if the UPS truck is just about to pull up, they always do their best to get an order out fast.” – Carole H.
“…More importantly to me, the customer service is of days gone by."..They know your name, your favorite items...treat you like family!” – Mary H.
“Everyone has been a delight to deal with!! Great service, great pricing, great staff. I love that I'm a person & not an account number.” - Karen K.
“Once I started using Angel's, I've never purchased my lining anywhere else. They have a great selection, great prices, and wonderful customer service. It doesn't get any better than this.” – Valerie A.
“You cannot do any better than Angels. Their customer service cannot be beat. A family run business that is a pleasure to work with.” – Nicole N.
“I previously gave a 2-star review. Since then, I heard from Angel's, and they clarified my problem. I ordered another product other than the one I thought I ordered. You did a great job and got me what I ordered in a very timely manner!” – Iva M.
“Ralph and the crew have been my main source for drapery linings for over 20 years, and I can't say enough about them. In an industry with so many moving parts to projects, this is one aspect which they have made effortless. Timely deliveries, personalized customer service, and just an overall friendly approach. Unequivocally an industry leader in my book.” – Peg C.
“In a business world that is less than efficient, Angels is incredible!! The orders arrive within a couple of days, are always correct, and are always stress-free!” – Karen P.
FIND OUT WHY WE OFFER THE BEST SERVICE IN THE INDUSTRY!
This is why you need a boiler iron. . .
Wondering why you need a döfix boiler iron in your workroom? Beth Hodges is here to tell you! At the 2019 Artisan's Project Weekend, Beth explains and demonstrates the advantages to using dofix's high-steam, low-temperature boiler irons. This workroom upgrade is available for purchase at www.dofix.com.
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This article first appeared in Rose Mary's blog which you can read here.
To retire or semi-retire? That is the question.
In the coming months, I will be sharing my experiences about the next phase of my life. Some aspects of this process will resonate with you and some will not, but I do hope that you will follow along with me on this journey.
At the first Custom Workroom Conference in 2016, I attended Jeanelle Dech's class, The End Game, and she jump-started my thinking on this subject.
I always thought that I would stay in business till I passed on to that big sewing room in the sky, but this fall I realized that was not what I wanted to do.
First, let me tell you a little about myself. I am from the small town of Slidell, Louisiana, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. Sewing is in my DNA. My French grandmother (actually from France) sewed couture clothing for the Uptown ladies of New Orleans. Even though she died when I was just three years old, there was a deep connection between us. We were kindred spirits, and she still inspires me to this day. She crossed the ocean without a GPS or a cell phone in the late 1980s, not knowing a soul in a strange land. She succeeded in making a home and a living for herself and her children. My grandfather died when the children were very young.
I have had several businesses throughout my life: picture framing, needlework design in Louisiana, home furnishing fabrication and workroom organization systems for Seamless Workroom with business partner Amanda Deal Smith. At the end of 2018, I will have spent 27 years creating custom home furnishings for designers in both Louisiana and Charlotte, North Carolina. That's a long time to do anything.
I feel good about my long career, and I am proud of my accomplishments. I have, and am still, contributing to an industry that I love, and about which I am passionate. Most people can't say that about their life's work.
A lot goes into the decision to retire or semi-retire. For a business owner, things happen that build on each other the other until it all adds up to a decision. For me, there wasn't any angst about the decision, and I thought that there would be. It's interesting how time changes the way we think. I thought that I would fight it all the way, but the decision is a relief.
Three factors influenced me:
First, I noticed that my fabrication speed was slowing down over the past year or so. That's normal for aging but not good for profitability. I wasn't slow as a snail, but I wasn't setting any speed records anymore.
Second, my patience isn't what it used to be. Recently a designer asked me to quote and requote the same drapery job over and over (par for this designer). I lost count after the fourth or fifth go-round. At that point, I realized that my patience wasn't what it used to be and that I couldn't muster the same enthusiasm as before to help her over her indecision about this job.
Third, my love of drawing resurfaced. As a teenager, I loved to draw, and my favorite class was art. Illustration fascinated me, and my first goal was to be an illustrator. Life got in the way as it often does with our dreams and I put it aside.
When I was in my teens and twenties pen and ink was my medium.
In my thirties, I designed counted cross stitch needlework with an emphasis on Louisiana themes. As needlework phased out in popularity, I fell into making pillows and drapes for a local fabric store. And so I fell into my 27-year sewing business by happy accident.
Then a few years ago I discovered that I could draw on my computer. I learned the Inkscape program from YouTube videos and bought a Mac Book Pro (my Apple Baby). I was hooked big time on computer drawing. Designs were, and still are, continually popping into my head and calling me to draw them. Computer drawing combined my love of illustration with my love of fabric. (Spoonflower is my guilty pleasure and makes it possible for me to feed my design habit.)
I have come full circle with my art and have dusted off my dream of illustration.
Seamless Workroom is also one of my passions, and I will continue to nurture it with Amanda. We have many goals and projects to work on for the future. I see the details that workrooms encounter on a daily basis similar to herding cats through an airport. It's so easy for one to slip away and a chore to get them all back on track.
So, there it is - slowing down, diminishing patience and a resurgence of drawing all added up to a new phase of my life. I decided to semi-retire. I can't imagine just quitting outright as I still have things to do and accomplish in the workroom, as well as my other passions.
For me, two of the lessons are that each decade of our lives has a different focus and that there are new opportunities and interests yet to come.
Rose Mary LeBlanc started her business in Louisiana in 1992 fabricating window treatments, slipcovers, bedding and pillows. She moved to North Carolina in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina. RML Custom Home Creations is a ‘to the trade workroom’ offering a wide range of services to designers including measuring and collaboration on design and hardware. She specializes in high end fabrication techniques including hand sewing and is compliant with roman shade safety standards. Having been a member of WCAA since 2007 when the Charlotte Chapter began, Rose Mary has served as Vice President, President and Past President. She continues to serve the fabrication community by teaching for the WCAA Charlotte Chapter, Custom Workroom Weekend, the IWCE Construction Zone and has instructional videos available on her company website.
Life's Next Chapter
by Rose Mary LeBlanc
Hold the date: Friday, May 3, 2019!
Bianca Henry in PA
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Bianca Henry, owner of Impressions Drapery Designs, Inc. in Durham, NC, will be in the Philadelphia area for a special one-day event on Friday May 3rd, 2019, hosted by The Workroom Channel and organized by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA-SEPA). Bianca will be presenting two popular seminars.
Closing the Deal with On-site Quoting
This interactive class will take the fear out of closing the deal on the first appointment. Attendees will learn different tactics for getting to know your client and making them comfortable with you and getting the check on the first visit.
Hands-On Hand Sewing
Attendees will learn various hand stitches. We will discuss pros and cons to hand sewing versus machine sewing. They’ll learn about all the tools needed to make a professional product.
Registration will include one or both sessions, lunch, and a tour of Adaptive Textiles (home of The Workroom Channel) in their new 13,000 sq ft facility. Mark your calendars and hold the date. Registration details will be published in the March/April Digital Digest.
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This article first appeared in Michele's blog which you can read here.
Here is a familiar scenario: She was sitting at the table, coffee forgotten in her hands, adrift in her thoughts. Suddenly, snapping fingers in front of her eyes broke her train of thought, and a loud voice asking, “Hey, are you in there?!”
We are conditioned to pay attention, and when we find ourselves lost in thought, dreaming, we are either rudely woken up or feel guilty for losing track of ourselves. After all, successful people understand the amount of concentration it takes to be good at something and shouldn’t allow themselves to be distracted!
We often discourage such daydreams because they amount to distractions, but that really does them a disservice. The stuff of our dreams may be wild imagining, but there are kernels of reality that we can mine. When you dream, you’re figuring things out and exploring at the same time.
your dreams can be tools
Too much dreaming could be distracting from your task, and doesn’t it seem like our minds often wander when we’re deep in the throes of a project? It makes sense when you think about the effort exerted by the brain to concentrate. A daydream might either be a break from the efforts or an extension of the increased brain activity. Either way, we often find ourselves “zoning out” while we’re working.
The usual response is to shake ourselves back from the daydream and focus again. However, there is an opportunity to take next time you find yourself zoned out—follow the thoughts. Let yourself take the time to zone out. Stay in the zone.
Evaluating Your Dreams
When you come back to earth or snap out of your reverie, don’t jump back into work. Instead, think some more about the daydream or thoughts you just experienced. Where did you go? What did you see? What was on your mind? Write them down.
When we get lost in thought, we are actually processing ideas. They may be nothing of importance, but you may find yourself dreaming about your heart’s desire. Give yourself a chance to find out.
After you have a few sessions of letting your mind wander and getting a sense of your thoughts, look over your collection of notes. Were you thinking about that last client meeting? Did you imagine yourself handling it differently or did you relive it start to finish? Maybe you were working on setting your interior design pricing and suddenly whisked yourself away to a place that didn’t bother you with numbers like a tropical island with endless beaches.
Glean from your notes the meaning behind the thoughts. Do you need a new approach to client meetings? Are you still struggling with your interior design financial statements? These are the real issues with which you’re grappling.
Now, you can create action items. What are 3 things you need for every client meeting? What are two ways you need to prepare for those types of events?
Or, you can identify specific actions you still need to take. List people who will help you with your interior design fee structure. Decide two methods to gain more information about your interior design business plan.
You already have everything you need—next time, let your mind go and see where it takes you. Keep notepaper close to you. Allow yourself time to see your dreams through. You may just find that rather than distract you from reaching your goals, they may take you exactly where you need to go. Always feel free to connect with me and we can work together to make your dreams come true.
Michele Williams is the owner of Scarlet Thread Consulting. Using her software development and interior design business background, she empowers her clients to charge what they are worth and to have confidence in their financials. Michele is a Profit First certified coach focused on the interior design industry, and she hosts the popular Profit is a Choice podcast. You can learn more at www.scarletthreadconsulting.com.
your dreams can be tools
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Drapery & Design Professional Magazine
Volume 2011, Issue 6
Blast from the Past
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Take me to the Library!
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We are thrilled to share with you some exciting news about the future of the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library! Effective January 17th,2019, ownership, and management of the Library was transferred from Jeanelle Dech to Ceil DiGuglielmo.
Our partnership in the launch of the Opportunity Thinking podcasts (the Library-sponsored feature of the Sew Much More podcast) led to the realization that there would be great synergy for Ceil to assume the ownership and day-to-day management of the Library. We see great things for the Library’s future under Ceil’s direction.
We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Sue Fresconi for her efforts over the past year as your Librarian. Many of you had the opportunity to interact with Sue and recognized her passion for the Library and her desire to work closely with all of you to create a top-notch experience for members. Sue has worked closely with Ceil to ensure a smooth transition. Sue will be resuming her career in corporate project management, and we wish her the best!
Thank you so much for your engagement with the Library during its inaugural year. See you at the library!
Jeanelle and Ceil
Not a member? Visit the Library today to sign up for the membership level that's right for you!
The Workroom Channel
The Workroom Marketplace
Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library
Sew Much More Podcast
The Drapery & Design Digital Digest is the result of the collaborative efforts of The Workroom Channel and the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library. Our mission is to showcase the outstanding work of custom home furnishings professionals, spotlight quality products, and share educational resources.
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January- February 2019 photo credits:
Susan Woodcock, Home Dec Gal
Karen Powell, The Slipcover Maker
Liz Kelly, The Workroom Channel
Rosemary LeBlanc, RML Custom Home Creations